Writing rituals

Recently, I learned that Chilean writer Isabel Allende has a specific ritual for writing. Allende starts a book every year on January 8th, the anniversary of the date she began her first novel. Allende described her ritual in an interview with Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera.

“I get up very early, I walk the dogs, I have my coffee and then I come here…I started my first book on January 8th and it was such a fortunate book that when I started my second book, I thought well, just for Kabalah I will the book on the same date. Also it was convenient, it was after the holidays so I started my book on January 8th and it went very well. So then, I did the third one and now I don’t dare change it. Partly for superstition but also for superstition. I know on January 8th I will sit down and write a book. What it will be about? I don’t know. “- Isabel Allende

This discipline has allowed Allende to publish almost 20 novels to date.

Author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor applies a similar approach, writing one novel annually for in her series the Alice books, which is set to end this October. In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Naylor stated

“Somewhere along the way, I recklessly promised fans 28 books – a book a year until Alice was 60 and I was 80.”

Naylor told interviewers that to ensure that the series would have a proper wrap-up, she wrote a draft of the final novel, which was originally entitled Always Alice, and placed it in a fireproof box for safekeeping.

Right now I am wondering what rituals other writers employ to contribute to their success while writing. Personally, I like to sit in a quiet space where there aren’t too many distractions- a cozy coffee shop or corner at the library out of the way.

What is your favorite way to write?


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